Family reunions are a good way to strengthen bonds between relatives. They don’t just happen by accident. Someone has to put it all together. This “someone” maybe you. Here are a few things you can do to make your family reunion successful.
#1 Have the event well planned and organized
Nobody wants to reach a point of saying “what do we do now?” This isn’t working. Your job isn’t to keep everyone busy. Still, some structure is needed. We have a family reunion planner who can help you sort out schedules, activities, and lodging (218.728.8060 x104).
“Family members are more satisfied when their reunions are structured, organized, well planned, larger, longer-lasting and less frequent,” said Laurence A. Basirico, Ph.D. about the findings of his Reunion Magazine-sponsored study. “Of all these characteristics though, the real keys to success are the structure, organization, and planning.”
But how do you organize the time, place, and the event itself? One way is to pick leaders from different family groups to form a committee. Start by conducting your own survey. Send out questionnaires. Find out who is willing to go, when, and their willingness to spend. Ask what activities they would enjoy.
#2 Invite a wide range of relatives
Before you send out these surveys you need to know who to send them to. Having a wider range of people at you can make it more interesting and a true reunion. Wouldn’t you like to finally meet that 2nd cousin you always heard was so great whenever you screwed up as a child?
“86% of those with 100 people or more are most satisfied,” said Basirico of the same study. “Compared with 47% of those with 30 or fewer people.”
#3 Have a wide range of activities
Juyeon Yun did a Master’s Thesis study on Family Reunions. One part shows the top ten in favorite activities at family reunions, by the group. For all groups, casual chatting and taking family photos are at the top of the list. Children and grandparents actually rated outdoor sports higher than parents. Children were the only group to include swimming in their top ten list. But the other groups listed cooking as being a favorite. At Grand Superior Lodge we often get guests who enjoy catching up on cooking, at the provided kitchens. We also have a “program sharing” option where guests at our resort can do day trips up and down the shore and enjoy activities at our other resorts. We have kayaking, canoeing, bikes, kids programs and more. Still in a rut? Sharing family photos, dining in a restaurant, church services, and sightseeing also appears on the list.
#4 Do activities that bring people together
The same study also looked at activities groups do together. When together most liked sharing family photos more than taking photos. Dining was more popular when done together as was sightseeing. When together, watching family videos appeared on the list.
#5 Have lots of time for just hanging out
The number one activity in all categories in that study was casual chatting. Catching up and just being together is what reunions are all about. Don’t plan so much that there is no time for just hanging out.
#6 Make it longer if possible
Think of your reunion more like an epic film and not a sitcom episode. After all, reunions don’t happen every day or even every decade.
Again Basirico says, “83% of those attending reunions that last four days or more are most satisfied, compared with 42% of those attending reunions that last less than a half-day.” We offer discounts for longer stays and larger group bookings. Email our coordinator to find out more at email [email protected].
These are just a few tips to get you started. Just remember even the planning of the event can be a way to reconnect with family.